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COVID-19: How we’re adjusting classes and operations ›

This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.

Augsburg University announces Augsburg Bold, including an undergraduate tuition freeze and unique new programming for incoming students

Today, more than ever, the world needs people who are equipped to navigate the complex issues of our time. Augsburg is committed to educating students for that very purpose (it’s in our vision statement), so we are launching Augsburg Bold, a set of unique programming and responses to the current environment that demonstrate our commitment to students. Below are just some of the plans we have in place—or in the works—for fall 2020.

Fall semester. What’s most important for us this fall is providing a high-quality learning environment and a safe on-campus experience. Because of uncertainty right now about what the public health requirements for our campus will be in the fall, we are developing a flexible learning model that blends on-campus and online classes. Our goal is to maximize the opportunity for students to engage directly with faculty while also ensuring the health and safety of our campus community. Our faculty will be working over the next month to design our approach to the fall semester, and we expect to provide more detail in June. 

On-campus housing. Augsburg also is preparing to welcome students to our residential community this fall. In fact, we have kept our residence halls open for students who meet certain criteria this spring, and will continue to do so through the summer. As a result, we have experience with the public health policies and practices required by the Minnesota Department of Health to help keep our community safe and healthy. This fall, we expect that all returning students will be able to live in the residential units they selected in mid-February.  And, because Augsburg has a broad variety of campus living arrangements—from apartments to traditional college residential hall units—we also are able to offer a number of campus housing options for new students. Next week, our Residence Life team will send a communication to incoming Auggies to provide more detail about the residential options available to them. 

Tuition freeze. To assist all full-time undergraduate students, a tuition freeze has been approved for the 2020-2021 academic year. The full-time tuition rate for 2020-2021 will be reset to the 2019-2020 rate. This means that returning students will not see their tuition increase for the coming year. New incoming first-year and transfer students will receive a mailing that documents the revised tuition, the lower cost of attendance, and the resulting savings for the 2020-21 academic year. The amount of financial aid that students receive from Augsburg will not be reduced.

A new summer learning opportunity. This summer, Augsburg is offering—for free—a selection of our most popular courses online to our incoming undergraduate students. Designed to give students the chance to meet Augsburg’s amazing faculty, this option allows students to get a head start on earning college credits in a relaxed environment, while learning more about what to expect at Augsburg when all classes resume in the fall. Details about these special courses and instructors will be provided during Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) in June.

Technology access. No one should have to complete a research paper on a smartphone. To ensure that every Auggie has the tools needed to be successful in college, Augsburg launched a program earlier this year to support students who need laptops or internet access. More information about technology resources is posted on the Resources for Students page of Augsburg’s Outbreak Planning website.

Study abroad from home. We are excited to announce the Augsburg Experiential Semester, a new program that offers incoming students a unique opportunity to engage with Augsburg’s international sites, even while international travel is restricted. The semester courses are taught by Augsburg’s Cuernavaca, Mexico-based faculty and include engagement with culturally-diverse residents and businesses in nearby Midtown Minneapolis. Once it is again safe to travel, Augsburg will cover airfare, lodging, and meal expenses for the students in the program to travel to Augsburg’s Cuernavaca location to meet and engage in person with the faculty who taught their courses. Information about this program will be provided during Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) in June.

A distinctive experience in a committed community. The Augsburg Bold framework—including the initiatives outlined above, and potentially more to come this summer and fall—is a reflection of the distinctive experience offered at Augsburg. We understand that making friends, bonding with faculty, and discovering your gifts and callings are all part of the college experience. Augsburg University is called to help students strive toward this sense of community and discovery no matter what mode of instruction and public health practices we will need to implement to keep our community safe. 

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. 

How we keep our campus safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Augsburg coronavirus task force includes an epidemiologist, nursing faculty, academic deans, global education leadership, staff from across campus, and dedicated student representatives.The task force monitors new directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health and works to implement public health guidelines across our programs. Find more details about Augsburg’s response to the pandemic and resources for students at the Outbreak Planning website.

Augsburg alum Brian Krohn ’08 behind app to track coronavirus outbreaks

Brian Krohn '08 Photo: Star Tribune
Brian Krohn ’08

HealthPartners Institute, researchers at the University of Minnesota, and Modern Logic have teamed up to create the SafeDistance smartphone application and website, a new tool that helps users track COVID-19 outbreaks using crowd-sourced information from anonymous users. 

The free app sends notifications as users travel through high-risk areas. “As you’re moving around, you’ll actually see if you’re going into a higher risk area or you’re coming from a higher risk area,” Brian Krohn ’08 told Kare 11. Krohn is a project manager and entrepreneur-in-residence at Minneapolis-based Modern Logic and technical lead on the SafeDistance project.

Users of the app take a short COVID-19 symptom survey and then see a map of their neighborhood, as well as other neighborhoods. Data will not be used for-profit and users will not be asked for identifiable information. The app also offers tips about health risks and how to maintain social distancing. 

Krohn, a Rhodes Scholar, has been described as a “Minnesota “Genius”. His undergraduate research at Augsburg University led him to a “Good Morning America” appearance in which he talked about a process to produce environmentally-friendly fuel, which was later commercialized in the development of a $9 million pilot plant. Among Krohn’s creations are surgery tools, wizard staffs, a cycling workout app, the Soundly app, and more recently, SafeDistance. 

While the app launched recently in Minnesota, it is expected to expand across the country soon.


Read the full article on the Kare 11 website.

Click here to learn more and to download the app.


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Star Tribune

Videos: Faculty, staff cheer Auggies as academic year comes to an end

Spring semester 2020 has brought us significant challenges that continue to reshape so many aspects of life.

As our academic year comes to an end this week, several departments have been sharing words of encouragement to Augsburg students. We are proud of our faculty and staff who’ve worked so hard to move their classes online in such a short amount of time and the students who’ve shown patience and flexibility during this transition.

See the videos to Auggies below created by Augsburg’s Communication Studies, Film, and New Media Communications department and by Augsburg’s Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science department.

Posted by Augsburg University on Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Augsburg’s business programs awarded globally-recognized accreditation

ACBSPAugsburg University’s Department of Business Administration was recently accredited the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs for both undergraduate and MBA programs.

This globally-recognized accreditation for business programs rewards excellence in teaching and quality of student learning. Founded in 1988, ACBSP has accredited 430 campuses in 60 countries with the mission to promote continuous improvement of business education programs around the world. Evaluation standards include leadership, strategic planning, student and stakeholder focus, student learning assessment, faculty focus, curriculum, and business unit performance.

Augsburg is committed to continuous assessment and improvement to ensure that our business programs equip students with the skills employers seek.

Last year, Augsburg’s MBA program was named one of the top MBA programs by Twin Cities Business readers in a subscriber survey.

See Augsburg’s accreditation at the ACBSP website.

Visit the ACBSP website to learn more about the accreditation.

Learn about Augsburg’s undergrad and MBA business programs.


Advisory: Augsburg celebrates Class of 2020 with virtual commencement

Augsburg University will host a virtual commencement ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020.

The virtual commencement ceremony consists of a prerecorded ceremony that will be streamed online. There are two viewing times when graduates, families, and friends can watch and chat together in real time.

  • Friday, May 29, 2020, 7 p.m. Central.
  • Sunday, May 31, 2020, 2 p.m. Central.

You can follow the celebration through the hashtag #AuggieGrad on all social media platforms, where students will be sharing images of their virtual celebration.

As soon as it’s safe to have large gatherings, an in-person commencement ceremony will be planned for the Class of 2020 with the more familiar traditions of commencement.

The in-person commencement ceremony, previously scheduled for May 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium, was canceled given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit Augsburg’s commencement site for more details.

Only Critical Employees and Some Resident Students Permitted Inside Campus Buildings

Augsburg University is complying with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s Stay at Home Order, and other executive orders, by permitting only critical employees and certain resident students who fall within four categories inside campus buildings.

Augsburg’s residence halls remain open for only those students who do not have alternative living arrangements, including international students; students who have insecure housing; students whose home is not safe; and students who need to stay on campus for health reasons. All other students have been asked to move off campus. Augsburg will provide a prorated housing credit for certain students who have moved off campus and remains flexible in scheduling time, if needed, for students to return to campus to collect their belongings. 

Augsburg has taken other steps in an effort to limit exposure to and potential spread of COVID-19. Students who remain on campus retain fob access only to their residence hall and the Christensen Center for dining purposes. Otherwise, students’ general fob access to other campus buildings has been turned off. Students remaining on campus have been informed that they are not allowed to bring any guests—including those currently living in other Augsburg buildings—into their residence halls. The only exception to the no guest policy is for individuals assisting with a pre-arranged move out.

Students remaining on campus who violate university policies, including those regarding social distancing and no guests, may be subject to discipline, including being asked to leave campus to protect Augsburg from community spread. 

Augsburg has operated under a modified operations plan since March 18, which was the start of the university’s spring break week. Classes remain online for the remainder of the spring semester, ending Friday, May 1.

During modified operations, employees (including faculty, staff, and student workers) whose roles are deemed critical to university operations retain access to campus buildings for work purposes only. All staff, faculty and students must wear cloth face masks in any common areas while on Augsburg property, based on Minnesota Department of Health guidelines updated in April.

Visit the Outbreak Planning website for more information regarding Augsburg’s operations during the pandemic.

Broadway World: The Playwrights’ Center and Augsburg Announce New Partnership

Playwrights’ Center logoThe Playwrights’ Center and Augsburg University announce an exciting new partnership to offer accredited courses taught by the nation’s leading playwrights, the Broadway World reported. Through online courses, students will connect with peers across the country and will be taught by leading professional playwrights who are actively working in the field. The course offerings will be guided by Augsburg University’s Theater Department in conjunction with the Playwrights’ Center. Registration and accreditation will go through Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience .

“With these courses, students will learn with and from writers at the top of their field, seeing what it takes to have pieces published and performed-and, perhaps most important of all, seeing that this is possible,” said Patrick Mulvihill, Augsburg’s assistant provost for global education and experience, in a Broadway World interview.

The two first courses, Playwriting and Themes in Playwriting, are now open for registration at Augsburg University for fall 2020. Details on the program and the courses can be found at the Playwrights’ Center website.


Read the full article on the Broadway World website.

Jeanne Boeh Discusses U.S. Economy on WCCO

Jeanne Boeh on WCCO
Jeanne Boeh on WCCO

WCCO sought input from Jeanne Boeh, professor of economics at Augsburg University, on the U.S. economy during the current COVID-19 global pandemic. Boeh explained that we’re going through an “economic shock.” Boeh also said more people nationally are concerned about the financial implications than they are about the actual illness because of the low death rate.


Watch the full interview on the WCCO website.


Task Force Monitoring Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines

An Augsburg University task force is tracking the COVID-19 outbreak and following the advice of the Minnesota Department of Health. See the Updates page for the most recent posts. 

The university is checking the Minnesota Department of Health for updates. An Augsburg task force is monitoring recommendations from the MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The MDH isn’t yet recommending that events or extracurricular activities be canceled. The CDC offers detailed information for travelers.

Meanwhile, Augsburg encourages students, staff, and faculty to follow the MDH recommendations to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, stay home when you have a fever, and cover your cough. If you are sick with fever and cough, call your health care provider first and follow recommendations from the MDH.

Visit Augsburg’s Outbreak Planning website for more details.

See Augsburg’s most recent statement about classes and operations as of April 9.

The Chronicle of Higher Education Highlights Augsburg’s Inclusion Efforts

The QuadThe Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted Augsburg University as one of the colleges that met its enrollment goals this year by “paying attention to the changing diversity of Minnesota’s population and recruiting a correspondingly diverse student body.”

“We wanted to enroll an intentionally diverse mix of students in part because we thought that it would offer a richer academic experience for all students,” said Augsburg’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer Karen Kaivola, in the article.

Augsburg’s current first-year class is the largest and most diverse ever. For the past three years, more than half of Augsburg’s incoming class have been students of color. The article notes Augsburg’s efforts to recruit minorities, such as working with organizations like Act Six, College Possible, and the recent hiring of a “chief inclusion officer” to help navigate conversations on campus about race and diversity.

Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education website.

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